Roanoke’s new art museum opens today and the collection is fabulous

Today people in Roanoke, Virginia are having a fine time of festivities. To celebrate the completion of its brand new building and name change to the Taubman Museum of Art, the museum is putting on an all day shindig. There are: “circus performers, jazz bands, jugglers, puppets, ballet, rock ‘n’ roll, a blues guitar legend named Guitar Shorty, ” and oodles of kids’ activities, according to this blurb in the Roanoke Times.

Even though going to the opening isn’t probably going to happen for you–or me, unless you live close and your timing is so impeccable that you happen to be reading this and say, “Well, I’ll be, that’s just around the corner,” the museum looks as if it will be one more terrific reason to head to Roanoke.

As I browsed the museum’s former Web site, the breadth of the collection and exhibits popped out. Two in particular caught my attention because of their unusual quality. One, Earthly Delights: Judith Leiber Handbags showcases Leiber’s 50-year work as a handbag artist. Her handbags have been carried by First Ladies at presidential inaugurations which made me wonder if Michelle Obama will get one for Obama’s inauguration. The museum has 100 pieces of Leiber’s work.

The exhibit Pens and Needles: Drawings for Tattoos highlights the intricacies of tattoo art. We’ve written posts on the subject. The focus of this exhibit is tattoo artistry, though–not tattoo language snafus.

Rachael Dunlap at Intelligent Travel was in Roanoke a couple of months ago and was impressed with the museum’s architecture and offers an overview of what makes it special. She also gives its permanent collection kudos.